March 16, 2004

SPAIN AFTER AZNAR

"The key element of the case against Blair, Aznar and Howard is not that they've stepped to the forefront of the war against terrorism when prudence would have dictated leaving the Americans to fight it by themselves," writes Australian economist John Quiggin. "Rather it's that they've aided and abetted the Bush administration in its decision to use the war against terrorism as a pretext for settling old and unrelated scores."

Scores donít come much older than fundamentalist Islamís Andalusian problem, dating back to 1492. Yesterday Mark Steyn reminded us of Osama bin Ladenís mention of Andalusia in one of his pre-internment videos. Less than a month after September 11, Slateís Chris Suellentrop explained:

The "tragedy of Andalusia" refers to the conquering in 1492 of the Muslim Kingdom of Granada by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. It was a central moment in the Islamic empire's quest for political and military power: Muslim expansion was not just checked; it was reversed. If Bin Laden truly wants to restore the original geographic dimensions of the caliphate, he may eventually look toward Spain.

Crazy Sammy is presently looking at, depending on your religion, or your interpretation of the Koran:

a) dirt;
b) the next black-eyed virgin assigned to his martyrís pad in Paradise;
c) Satanís finest urine-soaked steak knives carving their way through his abdomen; or
d) a bunch of white raisins.

Other Islamofundy types, like Shaykh Safar ibn 'Abd al-Rahmaan al-Hawali, keep talking up the Andalusian cause:

We are still weeping for the loss of Andalusia and we still remember what Ferdinand and Isabella did to our religion, our civilization and our honor there. We still dream of taking it back.

(That link lifted from Tacitus, who has much more on the subject.) But, hey, why all this history-dredging and cause-searching? Itís all rendered kind of moot by the oft-evidenced desire on the part of our jet-crashing, Buddhist statue-wrecking, gay-crushing, Bali-bombing friends to kill all who are not they. The attacks in Madrid hit an area dominated by supporters of the anti-war Socialists:

In El Pozo, where one of the trains exploded, the Socialist Party was expecting its usual landslide victory. Many in the neighbourhood had lost friends or family in the explosion.

Which is only what youíd expect from adherants to bin Ladenís theory that the world is divided into camps "of belief and the disbelief." If the Left is going to keep citing "causes" of terrorism other than Islamic extremism -- and, in Quiggin's case, urging a "prudent" means of avoiding same (ie, doing nothing) -- it must one day cite East Timor. Presumably it would have been prudent to leave East Timor to Indonesia. Yet Iím still to read even one leftist commentary regretting our involvement in East Timorís liberation.

There I go again, always with the causes. Insofar as Spain remains a target of Islamicist hatred, the election of Josť Luis RodrŪguez Zapatero doesnít change much (except to encourage election-eve bomb blasts elsewhere); a fact the new leader seemed to acknowledge in his victory speech:

The first people to be cared for, he said, were the families of the dead, those still missing relatives and those still battling for their lives or recovering from ghastly, life-changing injuries in hospital. But the main task, he said, was to fight terrorism wherever it raises its ugly head.

Good. Except you hope he'll be taking a stronger line than this:

When asked what he would do if confronted by the leader of Eta in the street, Mr Zapatero replied: "I would not look him in the face."

That'll teach him. Still, that was before the Madrid attacks. At this remove, I'm idiotically optimistic about a Zapatero change of heart now heís in power. About the attacks, one of the creepier comments yesterday appeared at Road to Surfdom, from someone called Nabakov:

I guess all the warbloggers want their flowers and sympathy back now.

A fellow pro-war monster heartlessly called me yesterday to organise a cruel auction, the proceeds of which will be brutally donated to victims of the Madrid bombings (details soon). A change of government alters in no way any rational personís feelings for those victims. Spain and Australia are blood allies; as that old man outside Atocha station said on the day his country was devastated, "Weíre all in this together."

Exactly. And that's why leaving America to fight this war by itself would be "prudent" to the point of shame.

UPDATE. The Australian Registry of Sublegible Educators meets to discuss matters.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 16, 2004 05:09 AM
Comments

prudent, because they know we'll keep fighting even if left alone.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at March 16, 2004 at 05:27 AM

Of course, then we will habve all the oooiiiillll!!

Posted by: JEM at March 16, 2004 at 05:57 AM

oops - sorry -- "have"

Posted by: JEM at March 16, 2004 at 06:05 AM

Tim, you seem to have ignored the word "not" in my post, even though I specially put it in bold type when pointing out the relevant para in email. So I'll try again

The key element of the case against Blair, Aznar and Howard is not that they've stepped to the forefront of the war against terrorism when prudence would have dictated leaving the Americans to fight it by themselves

Posted by: John at March 16, 2004 at 06:50 AM

Umm, but you still believe that the prudent move would have been appeasement? Seems that not does not really mean not, but really not only.

Posted by: Matt Moore at March 16, 2004 at 06:58 AM

Rather than basing your judgement on a biased misreading of one paragraph, why don't you go and read the article, then see if you think it supports Tim's misrepresentation of it. Here's the opening summary sentence

Australia, Britain and other US allies were wrong to participate in the war in Iraq, not because it made us more prominent participants in the war on terrorism but because the Iraq war was irrelevant, and in important respects actively harmful, to the struggle against terrorism, represented most prominently by Al Qaeda.

Posted by: John at March 16, 2004 at 07:03 AM

Yes John. We get it. You're saying that it's okay to participate in the "war on terrorism" but the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the War on Terrorism, or more specifically, with Al Qaeda; this despite the fact that Al Qaeda has explicitly stated that they blew the 200 innocent Spaniards up in order to get Spain out of Iraq. Stunning logic. I didn't realize that Australian academics are as dumb as the ones here in America.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at March 16, 2004 at 07:12 AM

The damn press over here is going to go absolutely nuts as the Australian election approaches. In some sick way they will be even egging on some kind of terrorist act to get rid of Howard. Is this a sad week or what.

Posted by: Rob at March 16, 2004 at 07:15 AM

Which is exactly as I read it, John. The way you've written this, you're not denying that Blair, Aznar and Howard "stepped up to war" when prudence dictated otherwise; you're only saying that this is a lesser element in the case against them compared to aiding and abetting Bush's settling of old scores.

What was your intended meaning, if otherwise? Your placement of "not" misleads, perhaps. Did you mean something like this:

"Many claim that Blair, Aznar and Howard stepped to the forefront of the war against terrorism when prudence would have dictated leaving the Americans to fight it by themselves. This is not so. The key element is ... etc"

Posted by: tim at March 16, 2004 at 07:21 AM

Go read Hitchens at Slate, he's dripping with so much contempt for the appeasement position that he doesn't so much argue with it as bulldoze it and spit on the debris.

Posted by: Mike G at March 16, 2004 at 07:26 AM

Tim, I think it's absolutely clear, if you bother to read the entire article, that my meaning is the one you now give rather than the misreading you presented above. See also this subsequent post, pointing out, among other things, that Spanish troops are to remain in Afghanistan.

Posted by: John at March 16, 2004 at 07:26 AM

I didn't misread, John. You miswrote.

Posted by: tim at March 16, 2004 at 07:28 AM

It appears that everyone in Europe with any balls emigrated to the States or Australia long ago (possibly excepting Britain, but I keep reading about how large and vocal the opposition is there).

Posted by: Dwayne at March 16, 2004 at 07:32 AM

This is pretty pathetic stuff, Tim. You admit that you've attributed to me views that are directly opposite to the ones I actually expressed, then say it's my fault for writing a sentence you could misconstrue that way.

Not surprisingly, your cheer squad here backs you up, but I doubt that others will see it that way.

Posted by: John at March 16, 2004 at 07:43 AM

So, if I understand this correctly: Now that the action in Iraq is principally over but also where an international force would be quite helpful in restoring a country, now is the time to leave?

What if the UN decides to help out in Iraq? Would it be OK for Spanish troops to come back?

It's cool they'll stick around in Afghanistan because their continued presence there will help stabilize the place.

But it's OK to risk that in Iraq? Even though a stable, successful Iraq would be an unqualified good for the entire world?

That while saying that the US et al. screwed up in Iraq, so therefore we shouldn't do anything to help rectify the mistake?

It's almost like they're using their troops as a political weapon. Like they want the US to be "taught a lesson". I'm aghast!

Posted by: Steve in Houston at March 16, 2004 at 07:48 AM

I don't understand what you think we're misunderstanding. You claim that Iraq is a distraction from the war on terror while we believe it is a very important component. Afghanistan, while important, is no longer the most vital component.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 08:01 AM

Just in case any readers of this thread are in doubt about what I really said, but can't be bothered checking for themselves, I'll quote from my second post (put up before Tim's) summarizing the one to which he refers.

In my previous post, I argued, from an antiwar position, that it was a mistake to interpret the result as punishment for Aznar taking a prominent stance in the struggle against terrorism.

Posted by: John at March 16, 2004 at 08:02 AM

Aaron, since you seem to be taking the issue seriously, alone among the commentators, I'll respond.

Your summary of the disagreement between us is pretty accurate. But how does this relate to Tim's, which says nothing of this, and suggests instead that I'm advocating "doing nothing" and "leaving the Americans to fight the war alone"?

Posted by: John at March 16, 2004 at 08:13 AM

I read it and it only reinforced my contempt for you.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 08:16 AM

How can you be so blind and duplicitous at the same time.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 08:18 AM

John:

I've read all this very carefully, and I don't see what your beef is. Tim did not misquote you, nor did he misunderstand you, nor did he imply that you meant anything other than what you wrote.

Basically, he ignored your point about Iraq being irrelevant to the WOT, probably because he has heard that argument so many times that it's like hearing a Leftist breathe. Rather than address that point, he went of on a tangent about "settling old scores".

Again, what is your beef? Tim has not misunderstood you one wit.

NOBODY denies that Iraq was a terrorist-supporting nation. When Bush took office, there was already a long-simmering war between the U.S. and Iraq, with shooting and everything. The "score" that Bush settled was not so "old".

Posted by: Ash at March 16, 2004 at 08:24 AM

John is gweilo dildo!

Posted by: sum gai at March 16, 2004 at 08:25 AM

aaron, you're a complete and utter moron

Posted by: Bob Anderson at March 16, 2004 at 08:26 AM

"Aaron, since you seem to be taking the issue seriously"

Sorry, my mistake!

Posted by: John at March 16, 2004 at 08:27 AM

See, whenever an antiwar or proleft voice gets called on his own words... complete with quotes... he's being "misquoted". Evidently John believes his words enough to write them down, but not enough to stand by them when questioned.

Figures.

Posted by: Dave P. at March 16, 2004 at 08:32 AM

I assume that the fellow at Road to Surfdom wants to imply similarities between himself and Vladimir Nabokov. There's something especially revealing in the fact that he can't spell the man's name correctly.

Posted by: Andrew at March 16, 2004 at 08:35 AM

"Not surprisingly, your cheer squad here backs you up"

Cheer squad?!?!? Actually John, we're more like a group of Third World child soldiers and you'd really hate us when we getted all messed up chewing qat.

Posted by: JDB at March 16, 2004 at 08:42 AM

It is you, John, who is not taking the issue seriously. You completely ignore all the reasons, achievements, and advantages of what we did in Iraq and our continued assistance there.

My contempt is due to your ignorance.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 08:51 AM

My contempt is due intent to proliferate ignorance.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 08:55 AM

your intent to proliferate ignorance.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 08:56 AM

john, i've read your article, bold type and all, several times, and i fail to see the basis of your argument with tim's interpretation of it. perhaps my eyesight is simply not good enough to see the head of the pin you're trying to dance on. the 'finishing daddy's war' argument is silly; was clinton an adopted bush, since he lobbed missles at saddam? any westerner who dares to say 'no' to a muslim is instantly assailed as a crusader, so whoop-dee-doo for that bit. the decisions about which backers to press hard and which to press softly is called 'political reality'; as folks so love to point out you can't fight everyone everywhere, so you choose your battles and hope/expect the good results to force others (like libya) to mend their ways.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at March 16, 2004 at 08:56 AM

When asked what he would do if confronted by the leader of Eta in the street, Mr Zapatero replied: "I would not look him in the face."

Yes indeed. Mr. Zapatero's calculated approach, full of nuance. I'm certain the terrorist's blood will run cold.

Posted by: Papertiger at March 16, 2004 at 09:08 AM

tim, are you truely unable to see that John has written "it is not X; rather it is y" and you are criticising him for saying it is X? My guess is that you have been distracted by John's representation of X; due to the fact that this is exactly what many critics think (but explicitly, not John).

Posted by: cs at March 16, 2004 at 09:21 AM

When asked what he would do if confronted by the leader of Eta in the street, Mr Zapatero replied: "I would not look him in the face."

Does that usually signify fear rather than loathing?

Posted by: Andjam at March 16, 2004 at 09:24 AM

Come on John, allot of your posts are assumptions based on the motivations of the subject. Not that its not a reasonable way to go about things but your first post was so obscure the intent could only have been made clear by reading your previous post. Then your second post reaffirms Tim.B assumptions. So what is your problem?.

Posted by: Gary at March 16, 2004 at 09:29 AM

John - of course you are correct. The only mistake you made was expecting a fair minded response from Tim or his little army of dittoheads.

Posted by: Mork at March 16, 2004 at 09:56 AM

And so, as the barbarians mass outside the walls of Constantinople, honing their skills, biding their time, a little massacre here, a bit of mayhem there, growing stronger every day...

the esteemed scholars of the Public Academy, subtle thinkers all, able to reveal (and extemporise at length upon!) the finest distinctions of grammatical nuance and 'Truth', exert themselves to their utmost for the public good...after all, that's what the public pays them to do!

Posted by: prophet at March 16, 2004 at 10:01 AM

"I guess all the warbloggers want their flowers and sympathy back now. "

That's quite ironic, given the faux sympathy of the anti-war types after 9/11.

Posted by: mj at March 16, 2004 at 10:11 AM

"ever eager to claim direct continuity between the Western world and the Crusaders"

The Crusades were a response to 300 YEARS of Islamic expansionist wars. The truth is, the Islamists are still pissed off that the "Western world" stopped them from wiping out Christianity.

bin Laden and his wahhabist fanatics wish to resume the pre-Crusade Islamic war on Christianity.

The "Western world" has a duty and responsibility to wipe the Islamic fanatics off the face of the world before they do it to us.

Posted by: Bruce at March 16, 2004 at 10:16 AM

Sorry, John.

I read your piece carefully. And I think it's full of folly.

"To sum up, the key element of the case against Blair, Aznar and Howard is not that they've stepped to the forefront of the war against terrorism when prudence would have dictated leaving the Americans to fight it by themselves. Rather it's that they've aided and abetted the Bush administration in its decision to use the war against terrorism as a pretext for settling old and unrelated scores, and that by doing so they've increased the danger facing both their own citizens and everyone else."

Tim stopped quoting you after "old and unrelated scores". The complete paragraph is even worse than what Tim quoted.

We must fight for victory, in spite of all terror. That really is the bottom line.

Posted by: David Blue at March 16, 2004 at 10:20 AM

So Basically
Invading Iraq puts the nations of Blair Aznar and Howard at risk but fighting the war against terror doesn't?

For months we have been told al Qaeda has nothing to do with Iraq, the former being Wahabi, Shia and the latter ruled by Sunni's and a secular state. Now invading Iraq is given as the reason for al Qaeda's atrocities,do they need one?

This is the nastiest case of cranial proctology I've seen.

Posted by: Peter UK at March 16, 2004 at 11:48 AM

Well, well. John is right, and Tim is wrong. That of itself is neither unusual nor particularly interesting.

What is interesting is how on this issue, Tim's bias seems to have moved from the usual insincere, deliberately-contrived, tabloid-provocative, round-up-the-lynch-mob style. On this, he appears to be quite sincere. So on this, unlike most other stuff, I think Tim can be forgiven. Clearly the Madrid incident has shaken him, as it has shaken us all.

And well it might.

As to the core question: Has Spain always been at risk? Absolutely. That Spain is seen as part of the umma is well established. Does their alignment with the US increase their risk? Of course.

Note - to avoid wilful misinterpretations, I do not say that this is of itself a reason to distance oneself from the US. I simply observe that it is an inevitable consequence.

As to Australia - are we more at risk because of our US ties? Yes. Are we at risk anyway? Yes.

None of this is either/or, and those seeking to portray it as such do the entire debate a disservice.


Posted by: Nemesis at March 16, 2004 at 12:02 PM

What I can't fathom is all these wacko American conservatives hell bent on democratising the entire world who are now criticising the Spanish electorate for exercising their democratic right.

Posted by: Ben S at March 16, 2004 at 12:11 PM

Criticism is a democratic right.

Posted by: Andjam at March 16, 2004 at 12:22 PM

cs,

John didn't write, "It is not x - rather it is y."

He wrote, "the key element is not x - rather it is y."

Which does not negate x, as John admits. It simply presents x as a lesser element.

Try it this way: "The key element to Steve Waugh's career was not his longevity. Rather it was his determination."

Posted by: tim at March 16, 2004 at 12:23 PM

John, since you are reading this entry, if *the world* weren't so wedded to "stability" and let us finish the job in 1991 in the first place, we wouldn't be where we are today.

But that's what one gets when one listens to ones' allies. Allies which have been more wrong than right. And as we're finding out now, allies which have ulterior motives, so much so, "allies" is not a term I'd apply to some of them.

So the frogs are on navel maneuvers w/the Chinese, eh?

TAP - TAP - TAP - nope, surprise meter didn't twitch.

Posted by: Sandra Pedersen at March 16, 2004 at 12:25 PM

What I can't fathom is all these wacko lefties hell bent on human rights who are now calling for the world to abandon the fight against terror - the greatest threat to human rights ever.

Posted by: ilibcc at March 16, 2004 at 12:28 PM

It's simple, Ben, stakes are too high. They think they've sent one message, but in reality, they've sent another.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 16, 2004 at 12:30 PM

Tim, you don't seem to have responded to my last comment:

"This is pretty pathetic stuff, Tim. You admit that you've attributed to me views that are directly opposite to the ones I actually expressed, then say it's my fault for writing a sentence you could misconstrue that way."

And I fail to see how the comment you've just linked:

"Tim, I think it's absolutely clear, if you bother to read the entire article, that my meaning is the one you now give rather than the misreading you presented above. "

can be construed as an admission that your misreading was correct.

Posted by: John Quiggin at March 16, 2004 at 12:30 PM

Oh, and John? Hussein was the largest money-launderer in the world. Documented in a book.

You think it's a coincidence Arafat's "broke?"

Don't I wish I were as broke as he is, his wife's still living the high life in gay Paree while being investigated.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 16, 2004 at 12:36 PM

The bottom line is that the fate of Western Civilization now depends on the fighting spirit and political fortunes of a Texan and working class boys in the US, UK and Australia. The Euros -- not surprisingly -- are AWOL in one of the greatest crises to face our civilization -- they were absent when the Nazis threatened, gone when the Communists threatened, and now they're at it again. They'll sip their lattes, debate the deconstruction of the modern novel and the horrors of Yankee culture; engage in their silly street theatre; make terrible movies and plays; and just be OH SO sophisticated. Meanwhile, of course, kids from rural Georgia, from Harlem, from farms in California and Arizona, and working class kids from the UK and Australia will have to bear the burdens of defending civilization against the Islamofascists and their allies. History repeats itself . . .

Posted by: Lewis at March 16, 2004 at 12:39 PM

Well John, I hope it is some consolation that you will always have Mork and Nemesis to sit at your feet admiringly and slobber on your shoes.

Posted by: Lee6600 at March 16, 2004 at 12:45 PM

"What I can't fathom is all these wacko American conservatives hell bent on democratising the entire world who are now criticising the Spanish electorate for exercising their democratic right."

Funny how much nicer liberate sounds than conquer.

Posted by: IXLNXS at March 16, 2004 at 01:00 PM

John,

Seeking to clarify your point, I rewrote it. You agreed that I reached a meaning you support (yet, weirdly, you still claim to have been misread).

But you've left your post as originally written; ie, conveying a view you don't apparently hold, or, at the very least, able to be interpreted in a way you don't agree with.

So rewrite it, and stop blaming me for your own error of expression.

Posted by: tim at March 16, 2004 at 01:11 PM

tim, re your reply to my comment, the status of x is not defined as a lesser element; it is neither negated nor affirmed, simply acknowledged and put aside.

Taken out of context, your reading is possible but not compulsory; and within context, the idea that it can possibly mean "urging a 'prudent' means of avoiding same (ie, doing nothing)" about terrorism is preposterous. John's piece actually argued the opposite (ie the Iraq got in the way of doing 'something').

And in any event, wherever there is room for discretionary meaning (and in this case in context there is not), good will dictates that the author's clarification will carry; as with two of your clarifications to one of your statements on my blog yesterday.

Try it this way: "The key element in the case against participation in the Iraq war was not the direct cost. Rather it was the opportunity cost."

Posted by: cs at March 16, 2004 at 01:33 PM

The Western democracies are divided against themselves. The fact is, it might only take a few more bombs to seriously fracture the coalition in Iraq.

If Italy is hit, it may bail out as well. I don't really know how Britain would react to a mass casualty attack. Poland has been awfully plucky but, I do not have much insight into that society either. It seems difficult to imagine a successful jihadi attack in Japan.

What will happen if another mass attack occurs on Australians, actually on the mainland this time?

If another 9-11 occurs in America before the election, the people will rally behind the President and, we will take the war on terror farther afield. More illegitimate governments will fall. More jihadis will bite the dust. Americans are fighters, it's in our blood. But, we have become too comfortable and, the memory of 9-11 is receding. I almost hope the fanatic bastards try something. Then, Bush will have carte blanche to do whatever he likes.

Posted by: Reid at March 16, 2004 at 01:34 PM

Tim, can't you see that when you have (as we agree) attributed views to me that I don't hold, it's up to you to fix your post, not to say that I should change mine so that it can't be misinterpreted ?

Posted by: John at March 16, 2004 at 01:39 PM

"I almost hope the fanatic bastards try something."

You do hope it wil happen. Because you have been propagandized.

You are using your emotions rather than logic.

You have successfully seen the enemy as the demon portrayed.

You believe this fight will bring democracy to the world which will end all problems.

"The original propaganda campaign had three rules:

1. Stress emotion over logic.
2. Demonize the enemy.
3. Promise a war that will make the world safe for democracy."

Posted by: IXLNXS at March 16, 2004 at 01:46 PM

John - Waahhhaahhhhh. What a baby.

Posted by: Reid at March 16, 2004 at 01:46 PM

John,

If you agree that your original point was flawed, by all means go ahead and change it. As it stands, my post quotes you accurately.

You attributed views to yourself that you don't apparently hold. I only quoted you. Change your post and I'll reflect that change here.

Posted by: tim at March 16, 2004 at 01:48 PM

IXLNXS - Oh, please. Do they award degrees in Pop Psychology in Australia?

Posted by: Reid at March 16, 2004 at 01:49 PM

John, you attributed views to Scott

"supporting massive government subsidies"

Are you going to apologise for making an accusation that he held views you have never seen or herd him state?.

Posted by: Gary at March 16, 2004 at 02:02 PM

Guys - this is really deadly serious. I did come over here to try to find some answers, maybe even reassurance.

Our formerly strong allies in Spain have given Al Qaeda the green light to start trying to affect political decisions in the nations of the coalition. Many of these nations, Australia prominent among them, are now in the crosshairs. A strike against one of more of these nations in the months ahead is, in my opinion, almost a certainty.

You can argue about what X and Y said or did not say later. Are you prepared for what may soon come?

Posted by: Reid at March 16, 2004 at 02:09 PM

Ah, these scholars here in Australia. They are just so smart and clever.

They know we can have our cake and eat it too!

I seem to recall about a decade ago, a bright spark in that hallowed instititution, the Australian National Uni, suggested that there was no need for Oz to spend so much on Defence, when we could achieve all our ends simply by treaties with neighbours like Indonesia.

I mean, shear genius, eh folks? Why didn't anyone think of that before? And how very Prudent!

So now, let's go after the 'real' terrorists, eh? That certainly clarifies things immensely. The old Marxian 'inversion of Hegel' trick, what?

Posted by: enlightened at March 16, 2004 at 02:09 PM

The question is did the people of Spain exercise their democratic right or make a mockery of it?

This neo con would not reward the people that slaughtered my countrymen.

But then again I am not European.

Posted by: Terrye at March 16, 2004 at 02:11 PM

again and again, it's sadly reinforced that the Daily Show is the least biased and most factual popular news source today.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 02:13 PM

Reid

IXINLimpness not is Australian.

Posted by: Gary at March 16, 2004 at 02:13 PM

Gary - glad to hear it, mate.

Can you give me any insight into the national mood in Australia vis a vis the WOT?

Posted by: Reid at March 16, 2004 at 02:18 PM

Gary, I've never seen the post you linked to, and I'm not mentioned in it - where do you get the idea that I "attributed views to Scott"?

Posted by: John Quiggin at March 16, 2004 at 02:22 PM

Cheer to Peter UK.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 02:41 PM

My apologise John,That was Tim Dunlop. You all sound the same sorry ;-)

Posted by: Gary at March 16, 2004 at 02:58 PM

Reid

"Can you give me any insight into the national mood in Australia vis a vis the WOT?"

Its not a big topic in the suburbs but that's just a guess.

Posted by: Gary at March 16, 2004 at 03:11 PM

>Tim, you seem to have ignored the word "not" in my post, even though I specially put it in bold type when pointing out the relevant para in email. So I'll try again

John, can you please point out where Tim ignores the word "not?" When I read Tim's post, he quotes you, correctly, without commenting directly on what you said.

Posted by: John Nowak at March 16, 2004 at 03:21 PM

Reid,

Mood in Australia I would say is very, very mixed.

Most people very proud of armed forces, whether they agree with what they are doing or not (apart from Pilger and his ilk, who think that they should be attacked to teach us all a lesson).

Some, like John Quiggen (who will, I am sure, correct me if I am wrong), appear to say Yes to War on Terror, but No to War in Iraq (and I imagine, Yes to Liberation of East Timor, but No to Liberation of Iraq). Certainly an argument to discuss, although I personally am of the opinion that the Coalition can do more than one thing at a time.

Others (mainly Civil Servants, Students etc.) believe that if we just try to understand the pain that Islamic fundamentalists feel, then we can all live in peace together. This will mean that we have to stand by whilst they wipe Israel off the face of the Earth, but so be it.

As for the rest of us, disappointed that the Spanish electorate have chosen to show that terrorism can force an electorate to acquiesce to their demands, and hope that Australia doesn't follow suit. However, it is not my family being blown up (yet) but I certainly know that I do not want to live in a world where people know that they can kill and maim thousands and achieve their ends, and I do not want my daugher to have to wear a burqa'a and be forbidden an education.

Posted by: Andrew at March 16, 2004 at 03:24 PM

Thanks, Andrew. I guess so long as people think they have a chance of avoiding the pain of confronting people who have declared war on them, we are all vulnerable to our fellow citizens bugging out prematurely. I fear we may well be repeating the history right before the last great war. Mankind hasn't changed. But, Lord have mercy, the weapons sure have.

Posted by: Reid at March 16, 2004 at 03:39 PM

Tim says John Quiggin thinks the prudent way to counter Islamic extremism is to do nothing. As that is quite clearly NOT what JQ says or thinks, this is simply an appalling piece of intellectual dishonesty.

There can be geniune disagreement over whether the invasion of Iraq was a diversion from the WoT, but this ain't it - it's just fraud.

Posted by: warbo at March 16, 2004 at 04:11 PM

Couple of questions: How do we know the bombings changed the result of the election? How do we know the government wasn't going to get tossed anyway? How do we know the Spanish electorate wasn't just pissed off that the government seemed entirely clueless about the whole thing? ("It was ETA, it was ETA, er, maybe it wasn't...")

We will never know these answers. Opinion polls won't help with this one. "What would you have done if..." You people are hurling abuse at an entire nation based on nothing more than conjecture.

Can anyone point to some credible analysis on this?(Mark Steyn doesn't qualify).

Maybe you could just respect the free will of a free people and be glad for democracy. It is after all, the one thing we all support. Isn't it?


Posted by: Nemesis at March 16, 2004 at 04:12 PM

Nemesis,

a) Apart from opinion polls, I don't think that there can ever be any other sort of analysis, unless you can find people who did change their minds and ask them why.
b) Yes, we probably do all support democracy. The difference is, we support it for brown people in countries like Iraq, as well as just for white people in Spain.

Posted by: Adrian at March 16, 2004 at 04:17 PM

Adrian - are you inferring I'm a racist now? (Cos that's really funny!)

Does it even occur to you that not everyone posting on here looks like you?

Think about it.

Posted by: Nemesis at March 16, 2004 at 04:37 PM

Nemesis (whose do you want to be, btw?)--
Turnout in the elections was much larger than had been expected. Polling indicates that most of those who had planned to vote did not change their positions, and that the result was changed by those who voted in response to the bombings (and the surrounding fallout).

If true, this would seem to be an argument for low voter turnout, as the higher turnout resulted from non-voters influenced by a single horrific incident and an emotional, as contrasted with a reasoned, response. Not a great basis for making critical decisions, perhaps.

Posted by: Alene at March 16, 2004 at 04:44 PM

Nemesis,

You are correct - I apologise. I am an Australian of West Indian extraction, and I naturally assume (because of who I see around me) that most other Australians are white.

I have always preferred it when people treat me as an equal, rather than patronising me and believing that because I am coloured, I need extra help.

Strangely enough, it is the left wing, who always feel that non-European cultures should be treated differently, that really get my goat.

Posted by: Adrian at March 16, 2004 at 04:51 PM

Nemo, we can't know, but it is very likely.

You wear a tinfoil hat often, why not ask how much Ted Turner has influenced the socialist movement.

(I don't remember for certain,) but I think you've shown evidence of racism before. It doesn't matter what you look like. (I may very likely be wrong, please correct, but didn't you post in support Niall [or whatever his name was].) I've know many more racists of diffent skin tone than mine.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 04:57 PM

Apology accepted, Adrian (I had assumed you to be white too, so I apologise straight back at you).

Aaron - have you been drinking? What do you mean by "tinfoil hat", what has Ted Turner got to do with this conversation, and who is Niall (or what ever his name was)?

You don't remember for certain. You may very likely be wrong. Yet you want to label me racist. I am certain you are drunk. Or deranged. You have all the credibility of a Donald Rumsfeld press briefing. Can we get back to the topic at hand?

Posted by: Nemesis at March 16, 2004 at 05:10 PM

I'm so glad Izzie is here, what with that fat bass player / crap-paper opinion column writer guy gone. At least he (Ben something?) was kinda funny.

Posted by: Screamapiller at March 16, 2004 at 05:14 PM

Nemesis - what's wrong with Rumsfeld? Seriously.

P.S. I am as drunk as 29 MFers.

Posted by: Screamapiller at March 16, 2004 at 05:16 PM

Screamapiller - Everyone else is starting their comments with other people's names, so I figured what the hey. How's it going? Seriously, from the beginning of this thread:

Tim. Tim. Aaron. John. Aaron. John. Tim. John. Cs. John. Tim. John. Tim. Tim. John. John. IXLNXS. John. Guys. Reid. Gary. Gary. Reid. Tim. John. Reid. Nemesis. Adrian. Nemesis. Nemesis. Nemo. Nemesis. Screamapiller. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Janet. Brad. Rocky.

Posted by: dorkafork at March 16, 2004 at 06:06 PM

Nem, I'm drunk. I was refering to an old post of Tim's which refered to the racism of another writer, I thought you supported him, but I'm too drunk to check.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 07:00 PM

Sorry Nemo. I checked, you weren't there. I mistook you for Mork.

Posted by: aaron at March 16, 2004 at 07:11 PM

dorkafork - I'm great! How's the spouse and children? Adequate? Outstanding! Okay, then. Doctor Doctor Doctor. Mick. Keith.

Posted by: Screamapiller at March 16, 2004 at 07:14 PM

The upshot of all of this is: No matter how you parse his sentence, John is a cowardly fuck. As an American-a citizen of the nation that John thinks should "go it alone"- I believe that saving his ass from the Jihadists isn't worth a single hair on the balls of a single American Marine. Wrap it in dialectic and faux morality as much as you want, that is where it ends.

PS- Doctor Doctor (Mr.MD) Doctor

Posted by: Dave P. at March 16, 2004 at 10:41 PM

John Q: How much does a big swinging dick academic who can't write clear english get paid? You should transfer to Sidney Orr University and get some remedial tutoring from the Bunyip.

Posted by: superboot at March 17, 2004 at 07:20 AM

I and utterly amazed at some of the crap being written here. Do you people really *believe* this shit, or are you just spouting it because you have nothing better to do?

"the faux sympathy of the anti-war types after 9/11"???

"The Euros -- not surprisingly -- are AWOL in one of the greatest crises to face our civilization"? Were they not involved immediately after 9/11? Haven't the *only* convictions relating to 9/11 made in Europe? Or are you only talking about the Iraq distraction?

Posted by: amazed at March 17, 2004 at 12:42 PM

Amazed: I'm amazed at the crap you just wrote.

John: That such an argument can be produced by what you wrote simply means that your writing was muddled, go read what Orwell wrote about clear English and weep.

Posted by: tony at March 22, 2004 at 12:08 AM

Amazed: "The Iraq distraction"

Puh-leeze, Monty Python lives.

Posted by: tony at March 22, 2004 at 12:13 AM